It is always difficult when companies decide to lay people off, and it is even worse if you are one of the people being let go. In times like this, it’s crucial to tread lightly when deciding how to handle a layoff. Many companies use outplacement as a tool to make the process of letting employees go less stressful. Outplacement is meant to be a cushion that former employees use to ease their transition to a new job. Unfortunately, it appears that outplacement is getting much stingier. Today, more and more companies are only offering outplacement services to protect their image and to “check the box."
Many think outplacement support is a luxury that only the biggest companies can afford. But that’s just a myth. All organizations can benefit from outplacement as just as much as larger organizations. In some cases, it’s even better to offer outplacement services to employees in smaller companies.
Outplacement aims to help workers find new jobs quicker after a job loss. There are many ways to make this transition whether it be getting a new position in the same field, switching industries, retraining, retiring, or starting a new business. Career coaching, resume writing, interview prep, skill development, referrals to hiring managers, and targeted job leads just a few of the pieces that should be included in an outplacement service package.
“Career coaching, resume writing, interview prep, skill development, referrals to hiring managers, and targeted job leads are just a few of the pieces that should be included in an outplacement service package."
However, for companies to get full value from an investment in outplacement, some common misconceptions must be considered and corrected.
1. Outplacement support is only for senior-most employees.
Almost everyone who involuntarily loses their job experiences feelings of insecurity and anxiety, regardless of their position in the organization. Even so, some companies offer career transition to only their senior executives. In reality, career transition can help employees at all levels in the organization acquire the confidence and skills needed to map out a future career path.
Departing employees who are left to their own devices can wallow in the anger and that can lead to undesirable outcomes such as bad mouthing the company or even worse, a lawsuit. Outplacement services help re-route an employee’s thinking from being focused on anger to being focused used on their future.
Remember that your brand as an employer can be damaged just as much by a poorly managed layoff involving mid to lower-level employees as it can be with a senior executive.
2. Employees who have previously gone through career transition services do not need support when they experience another job loss.
Whether it’s the first time or the fifth time, losing a job is a jarring, life-changing experience. Combine that with a rapidly changing job market and shifting personal goals, and it’s pretty clear that your employees need outplacement support each and every time they are laid off. This is particularly important in small to mid-market companies, which may view employees who have been through career transition before as more independent and thus less likely to need additional support. Every job loss is a challenge and requires focused support.
What are some other benefits you’ve found from offering outplacement services to your separating employees? We’d love to know in the comments below!